WattStation Connect Software Facilitates EV Charging:
‘iCharge, Therefore iDrive,’ Manufacturer Says
GE Energy has added the WattStation Connect software suite to its line of WattStation brand electric vehicle chargers. “EV users can now gather information and process payments in an easy-to-use, customizable, reliable and secure system,” GE says, noting that it’s got software apps for mobile devices, while smart grid-capable chargers can be connected to the Internet via wifi, Ethernet, or 3G phone networks.
The combination allows WattStation owners to manage charging stations remotely, set customer pricing for EV charging, provide access control at their facilities, generate valuable reports, “and engage with customers in new ways.”
“GE Energy’s WattStation and WattStation Connect are designed to work within the EV ecosystem, smart electronic commerce and monitoring systems, making it energy efficient and providing customers with a no-hassle experience.”
Taking a cue from Apple, “iCharge, Therefore iDrive,” GE says.
The firm has a new tie-in with Hertz, too – and a new retractable cord design.
“We worked closely with Hertz in the development of the WattStation Connect software because Hertz is at the forefront of electric vehicle deployment,” according to Michael Mahan, EV infrastructure product GM for GE Energy’s Industrial Solutions business. “Their global EV solutions in the U.S., Europe and China require the advanced, networked stations that we offer,” Mahan said in a release at this month’s SAE World Congress in Detroit.
GE says that its Industrial Solutions unit is forming data acquisition agreements with key navigation companies to share information on the installations and availability of WattStations throughout the U.S. and Canada. This will allow EV drivers to view and locate GE’s WattStations, obtain directions to the EV charging stations, access pricing details and determine whether a unit is available for charging, GE says – via GPS, the Internet, and future in-vehicle (built-in navigation) systems.
Further, the GE unit is “working with a well-known online payment company to enable drivers to safely and conveniently pay for charging” via the WattStation Connect mobile app. The app will be available for download in the coming weeks, GE says. EV drivers will be able to use the mobile app to scan the quick response (QR) barcode on the WattStation charger. The QR code will identify the station and the pricing structure for that individual charger.
GE says that a new intelligent self-cleaning cord management system for the Yves Behar-designed WattStation units “allows for use in a multitude of environments without compromising the life of the product.
“The cord is self-contained within the charger to keep the cord organized and out of the way when the charger is not in use,” the manufacturer explains. “The cord only retracts when the charger is disconnected from a vehicle, preventing damage when the charger is in use.”
Behind WattStation, “GE has a full range of electrical distribution products required to support EV deployment and to move power from the grid to the road, helping our customers operate in a smarter, more networked world,” Mahan said. “Our EV charging solutions offer a variety of options that make sense for you and your community.
“Whether you need durability, modern style, freestanding units, software-enabled or simple charging functionality, GE has designed leading technology for the delivery, management, conversion and optimization of electrical power and can connect you to the most effective, convenient solution for you.”
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